Despite seemingly solid pay, the group is struggling like their less wealthy peers.

Turns out, making almost twice as much as the average American does not mean you have any less debt than they do.

One in 10 people making over $100,000, are living paycheck-to-paycheck, according to a survey from job website CareerBuilder. That’s unusual for a group that earns nearly double (if not more) the American median income of $59,000.

One in four making that amount are struggling to save, though that pales in comparison to the 51 percent of Americans making $50,000 or less who live paycheck to paycheck.

As it turns out, both groups are running into similar problems when it comes to saving and debt.

Who’s racking up the debt

Among all those struggling with balancing their pay and living expenses…

  • 71 percent of workers say they are in debt, up from 68 percent last year
  • 56 percent think that they will always be in debt
  • 46 percent feel their debt is manageable

Debt is not only causing people to live paycheck to paycheck, though. Financial planner Spencer Betts says that many who are wealthy live a lavish lifestyle with debt they feel they can get away from because of their income, which hurts their planning.

“That’s the biggest difference between a wealthy person and somebody who is struggling to get by,” Betts says. “A lot of those people feel: ‘Oh, it’s only 50 grand in debt, 75 grand in debt. I can dig my way out of it in the future. I am not going to admit I am in crisis.’ It’s far down the road.”

But if you spend everything you have every month, there’s nothing left to pay down debt — now or later.

Not rich in knowledge

It’s no secret that Americans struggle with financial knowledge, as only a third of people say to Equifax that their financial knowledge is average or better. Surprisingly, the rich are not as smart as you would think when it comes to money.

According to a poll of investors from MaritzCX, one in four people hastily sell their assets off during a market dip instead of waiting and half don’t live off the income made from their retirement plan and instead are using principal. That lack of knowledge leaves them on the same level as their peers with less money.

“But there are areas, almost blind spots, where they’re either not aware or have a misconception.” Rich Brose, a director at MaritzCX, says. “There’s still room for fundamental education, even among the folks that are investing and have the wherewithal to invest.”

Nothing to save

That lack of knowledge displayed is affecting how Americans are approaching saving for their retirement and emergencies.

It shows in their saving habits. Among those in debt, 18 percent have reduced their 401(k) contribution, 38 percent don’t even contribute to a plan and 26 percent have not set asides savings on a month-to-month basis.

That mindset will serve as nothing but trouble for them in the future.  According to Lincoln Financial Group, only 4 in 10 savers think they are saving enough for the future, yet 55 percent are optimistic about their current position

“It’s good news that retirement savers are feeling more positive about their retirement savings, but there is a real disconnect between their feelings and their actions,” says Jamie Ohl, president of Lincoln Financial Group’s retirement planning services. “The majority of people we surveyed said they did not think they were saving as much as they needed to in order to be on track.”

You can’t save those who are delusional about their current condition. But, you can at least learn how to save for the future despite struggles or manage your debt appropriately.


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Meet the Author

Ryan Lynch

Ryan Lynch


Lynch is a freelance writer for

Budgeting & Saving


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Article last modified on October 11, 2018 Published by, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: More Americans Making Six Figures are Living Paycheck to Paycheck - AMP.